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Responsible use of information: How to avoid plagiarism

How to avoid plagiarism

Plagiarism is the use of another author's ideas, words, images, music or other work without disclosing the source. However, you may re-use these works through summarizing, paraphrasing or quoting as long as you properly identify the source. Watch the video Avoiding Plagiarism (3:33) by Chattanooga State Community College to get more insight into plagiarism and how we re-use ideas without plagiarizing. For more in-depth information about paraphrasing, read the module Paraphrasing further in this guide.

Take note that unintentional plagiarism is often the result of sloppy referencing, but nonetheless can lead to negative consequences for the student or researcher. For more practical tips on how to avoid unintentional plagiarism, read the module Tips against plagiarism and dishonesty.


Plagiarism can happen unintentionally. Always check if it is clear in your text whose voice is doing the speaking: your own voice or the voice of the author in the source text. Check where your source material starts and stops. It is important to reference properly when you copy or paraphrase from a source.

In the exercise Is this plagiarism? you have to decide whether each of the four cases is an example of plagiarism. 

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